Recorded baseball history got updated Tuesday night, June 12, 2012, in Atlanta. Paced by a grand slam homer off the right-handed bat of Alex Rodriguez, the man probably best noted as the guy who made “first initial dash last name abbreviation” so cool and popular a pastime among younger writers, went out there and did something even bigger on the direct page of recorded baseball accomplishments.
As you’ve probably heard by now, A-Rod’s 23rd grand slam home run tied him with the late Lou Gehrig for most career MLB grand slams with 23, a record that had stood for 74 years as the sole property of the great former Yankee they called “The Iron Horse.” I’m not an insider stat-guy, but I imagine the odds against ever hitting a grand slam home run are pretty high, let alone hitting 23 in a single playing career. It boggles the mind to even consider all the variables that have to be in place for something like A-Rod’s or Lou’s accomplishments to have happened at all.
No doubt too. Playing all or most of one’s career with the Yankees is a boost to any real slugger’s chances. You also are helped if you happen to be a power hitter who is cool under the pressure of a bases loaded game situation. If not for the Yankees, you have to play for many years with teams that are capable of loading the bases, and in ballparks whose dimensions and climatic conditions are conducive to your kind of power-direction.
I first became aware of Gehrig’s record as a kid while studying the MLB pitching career of an early 20th century player and fellow native of my own birthplace, Beeville, Texas. Lefty Lloyd Brown wasn’t around for me to ask him personally how he felt about it, but I noticed that his name kept popping up in various books and articles on Gehrig’s grand slam feat.
Lloyd Brown of Beeville, Texas gave up two of Lou Gehrig’s 23 career grand slams. No other pitcher gave up more than one, but you have to dig to find many of their names. I had to wonder. Did Lefty Brown really mind the fact that his singularly worst record on the Gehrig pitching victim list had resulted in him being a little better remembered than some of the others?
Who was it that said, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity?” Was it Scott Boras or Lindsey Lohan? I don’t know, but I don’t think it was Lefty Lloyd Brown. People from Beeville aren’t generally raised to pursue or celebrate notoriety. At any rate, here’s a link to how Lou Gehrig reached 23 career grand slam home runs:
I have not yet located a posting on the comparative list for Alex Rodriguez, but I’m sure it will pop up soon. In the meanwhile, the career grand slam leadership list is interesting in its own right:
Wow. Carlos Lee of the Astros is tied for 9th place on the all time grand slam list with 16 big ones. And who is Senor Lee tied with? Some guys named Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey, Jr., Dave Kingman, and Richie Sexson.
It’s a wondrous world, this world of baseball. Some accomplishments can propel an average player into company with some of the greats.